My goal is to clearly prove that the prophecies about Jesus were known before any similar mythological pagan stories were written. I am trying to refute the claim that the pagan Egyptians had mythological gods comparable with Jesus but long before He was born. In other words, the story about Jesus was copied from mythology. I have been told that the Egyptians had similar hieroglyphics from about 3500 years B.C. I have also seen websites that state that the prophecies about Jesus' birth were penned about 4,000 B.C. To me that would be evidence that these stories are just variations on the first true story/prophecies about Jesus. I have found a few statements that allude to these facts but no conclusive evidence as of yet. Can you please direct me to any info about the dates these prophecies were written or any other info that would help me in my quest?
Dr. M. V. Seton-Williams, a renowned Egyptologist best known for Tutankharmun, wrote the book, In the Egyptian Legends and Stories. The author states the Egyptian stories and legends emerged during the first Egyptian dynasty (c. 3100-2890 B.C.) to the twentieth dynasty (c. 1200-1085 B.C.). That crystalizes the dating of the Egyptian mythologies. Others provide dates as late as 30 B.C.
But the first prophecy in the Bible about the coming of the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is found in Genesis 3:15.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. Genesis 3:15 (NASB)
Even though the book of Genesis was written about 1445-1405 B.C., the prophecy was given by God to the first couple, Adam and Eve. Non-Christians will reject this view since they reject the Bible as truth and deny its prophecies. That essentially summarizes the problem if one is concerned about which religion may have influenced another religion. It is a game that liberal theologians and atheists use constantly to discredit the Bible. They deny its fulfilled prophecies. They strive to disprove the Bible contains accurate history. When confronted with the errors of their theories, they have been proven wrong repeatedly. Archaeology is a friend for Christians and the integrity and accuracy of the Bible. Just do a serious and objective search for archaeological discoveries in Israel and one will find the critics’ criticisms are not objective.
The One – The Future Messiah
Genesis 3:15 was spoken by God to the serpent who was possessed by Satan (Genesis 3:14). When God referred to “her seed,” God was referring to the future Messiah. The Hebrew word for “seed” is in the masculine singular. This implies that the seed was to be a male. But the most amazing part of God’s statement is the reference to “her seed.” Throughout the scriptures only the males have “seed” or “sperm.” It is never used in reference to a woman. This passage indicates that God revealed to the original couple He created on the earth that a male child would be born by a supernatural birth. He would be virgin born. He would be The One – the future Messiah.
Later in Genesis 22:18, God repeated the promise to Abraham and this time used “seed” in the normal sense.
In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. Genesis 22:18 (NASB)
Galatians 3:16 tells us that the word “seed” referred to Jesus Christ. Jesus would be a legal descendant of Abraham according to Jewish law but not physically, since He would be born miraculously of a virgin woman.
Timeline to the Messiah
The Genesis 3:15 prophecy occurred sometime before 4,000 B.C. How can we determine that this date is valid? One could begin by analyzing genealogies in the Bible starting in Genesis 5:1-32 and noting how old each person was when they gave birth to their first child and successively adding the dates. For an example, visit the question “Was Noah a Jew? If not, who was his father?” Other genealogical passages can be found in Genesis 11:10-32 and Genesis 25:12-34. Other genealogies can be found throughout the Bible, such as in Ruth 4:18-22, and 1 Chronicles 1-9. But many of the genealogies do not give the years.
In the 1600s, the Reverend Archbishop James Ussher published The Annals of the World. The book has been reprinted recently. In the book, he provides his own dating scheme as to the time of Adam’s and Eve’s existence. He computed a start date of 4,004 B.C. But Ussher’s chronology is susceptible to errors because the genealogies did not always present all of the children and there are major gaps. It is very likely that Adam and Eve were created before 4,004 B.C.
Egyptologists have computed dates for the history of Egypt using the same approach. They have added the successive reigns of the ancient pharaohs provided by the Egyptian high priest Manetho. Most of our information about Manetho comes from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and two early church fathers: Julius Africanus and Eusebius of Ceasera  since there are no surviving documents from the high priest. They also wrote about Jesus Christ. Julius Africanus states that Manetho’s chronology indicates the Egyptian dynasties extended back to 5,500 B.C. But the prevailing view among Egyptologists is that the date should be around 3,100 B.C. This would put the Egyptian dynasties at least 1,000 years after Adam and Eve.
The Garbled News
Once Adam and Eve knew about the wonderful and amazing news of a promised Messiah who would rescue humanity from their sin, the news would have spread verbally among the family members and successively to their children and to their children’s children. The news would have spread gradually around the world as the population spread. The accuracy of the account could have been easily distorted over time. The good news about a future Messiah would have been communicated throughout the world. The story then could have changed as it was inaccuratly communicated and we should not be surprised to find stories of similar “legends” in different regions and cultures of the world. For example, Graham Hancock has documented an extensive list of world-wide flood stories  that have a common theme of a single family that escape death by a boat. The author states and documents,
How far and how widely across the myth memories of mankind do the ripples of the great flood spread? Very widely indeed. More than 500 deluge legends are known around the world and, in a survey of 86 of these (20 Asiatic, 3 European, 7 African, 46 American and 10 from Australia and the Pacific), the specialist researcher Dr Richard Andree concluded that 62 were entirely independent of the Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.
This report is not unique ,but it is not popular among atheists. There are variations in the stories, but the origin is obvious. It is insightful to read the following quote,
Flood myths are common across a wide range of cultures, extending back into Bronze Age and Neolithic prehistory. These accounts depict a flood, sometimes global in scale, usually sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution.
The point is simple. Why would so many worldwide flood stories exist from different cultures and countries and not be confined to just Israel? In addition, note the Bronze era is dated from 3000 B.C. to 1000 B.C., and the Neolithic prehistory era is given a date of 10,000 B.C to 4,500 B.C. That predates the Egyptian mythologies, which suggests the worldwide flood occurred earlier. That suggests the Bible is more accurate than atheists and some liberal theologians want to accept.
The earliest information about the promised Messiah would have been communicated verbally. As time passed, it would also have been recorded in written form. Critics of the Bible rarely want to consider seriously the possibility that religious legends of other cultures derived from a common pre-existing source before false religions sprang to life, since they are looking for proof that the Bible is fiction. It is unbelief looking for support. Prejudice precludes such an obviously objective consideration. To consider Manetho’s chronology to be credible and then ignore the other chronologies is simply prejudice. The biblical chronology supports a viewpoint that the common stories about a coming Messiah came from an earlier time and family – Adam and Eve.
Since Adam and Eve received the initial prophecy of a coming Messiah who would be virgin born, it follows that the Egyptian mytholgies mimicked the real prophecies. Those who want to reverse history have concluded that the biblical record is false. How can we who are living 2,000 years later or more conclude that we know more than those who lived back then? Scripture sums up the struggle we face today with these words,
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NASB)
1. M. V. Seton-Williams. Egyptian Legends and Stories. Barnes and Noble Books. 1999. p. 2.
2. James Ussher. The Annals of the World. Master Books. 2004.
3. Graham Hancock. Finger-Prints of the Gods. Crown Trade Publications. 1995, p. 382-383.
4. William Whiston. Against Apion. Josephus. Kregel Publications. 1960.
5. Julius Africanus. The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus. Ante-Nicene Fathers. vol. 6, pp. 130-139.
6. Eusebius. The Chronicle.
7. Graham Hancock, Ibid., pp. 187-199.
8. Ibid. p. 193.
9. List of flood myths. Wikipedia. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_flood_myths)
Suggested Links:Where did Noah come from? If not, who was his father?
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